Mstation Book Reviews
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Thu, 01 Dec 2005

Sound Recording Practice

Ed. John Borwick, Sound Recording Practice, 4th Edition,
Oxford University Press

This title has been around for quite some time and is one of the more respected books in its field. With the glossary and index it is 616 pages long so it's a moderately hefty tome as well. There is now a paperback version as well as the original hardback.

The approach is to have expert authors of sections which, in their totality, cover just about everything you might need to know. We start off with basic acoustics and electronics, and digital theory and then move on to studio planning and installation. Then on to equipment, mobile set ups, the producer, post-production etc. As you can see, it traces a logical route through the process.

As far as depth goes, it gives a good generalist introduction to topics. That is to say, if you want to be a sound or DSP designer or an acoustic expert, you will need to read more elsewhere but most people involved with studios and recording won't need to go very much deeper at all except into their software manuals. In places there is quite some detail: for instance there is a very handy section which lists different mic types suitable for different jobs. It's a good starter for your own mic lore collection.

And that brings up the point of how up to date it all is. This seems to be a 1992 edition so we haven't quite got to DVD or SACD yet and there isn't much about Surround either. Also, the section on recording concentrates on console digitalisation rather than offshoots such as Pro Tools and the newly popular Pyramix, operating on computers.

That's not a fatal or even near-fatal flaw. The rest of the material is so useful that the book easily earns its place in any audio engineering section of the bookshelf.

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